Throughout American history lies many examples of unsolved murders and Holly Bobo’s comes close to being an unsolved case. It’s a heart-wrenching experience when a young life/light is snuff out in their prime. Described by friends and loved ones as a very sweet and shy person, Holly Bobo was a promising nursing student at the Martin Parson Center of the University of Tennessee. Unfortunately, Holly Bobo was abducted, raped and murdered not far from her house on the 13th of April 2011, however, her remains weren’t found until more than 3 years after. The case attracted national attention especially in terms of media coverage which might have had a negative effect on the case.
How Holly Bobo’s Murder Happened
Born on the 12th of October 1990, in Darden, Tennessee, United States, Holly was living with her parents and brother- Clint in Darden. On the 13th of April 2011, Holly woke up early to study for an examination when she received a call from her boyfriend – Drew Scott before stepping out of the house. It is difficult to ascertain what happened after this phone call as there has been several contrasting accounts by her brother, the neighbours and the supposed kidnappers.
It was reported that a neighbour heard a scream from their residence and called his mother who called Holly’s mom- Karen. Her brother who was at home woke up when he heard their dogs barking and saw Holly outside with someone that looked like her boyfriend. He saw them arguing before heading towards the woods. Sadly, that was the last time Holly was seen alive. Clint’s description of the guy he saw with Holly led the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to suspect a registered sex offender – Terry Britt but he was never charged as there weren’t enough evidence to indict him.
The events that led to Holly Bobo’s murder remains a mystery till date due to the diverse recounts by the supposed witnesses. During the course of the investigation, her things were found scattered all around town. What remained of her body were finally discovered in September 2014, more than three years after her death by ginseng hunters in Tennessee. The long time frame it took to find the body hampered any evidence that could have been beneficial in nailing down her murderers.
Apprehension and Conviction of Holly Bobo’s Murderers
Six men were apprehended in connection to Holly Bobo’s disappearance in 2014. They include the two Adam brothers (Zach and Dylan), Shayne Austin, the Pearcy brothers (Jeff and Mark) and Jason Autry. They were arrested after Dylan Adam was arrested in an unrelated charge and confessed to the crime to get a reduced and lenient judgment. Unfortunately, Shayne Austin killed himself before he was charged with anything. The charges against the Pearcy brothers were also dropped as they were initially indicted for tampering with evidence. Zachary Adams during a break in his trial for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Holly Bobo, image source
According to Dylan Adam, he saw Holly alive in his brother Zach’s house when he went to get his truck (this was after her abduction). Jason Autry was also present that day. Dylan also admits that Zach told him that he raped Holly and recorded a video of it. Dylan later recants his testimony but it led to the arrest of Zach, Shayne and Jason.
Dylan is mentally disabled and his confession didn’t corroborate with the circumstantial evidence so most of it was disregarded. Their mother maintains that Dylan was coerced into making the confession. Jason Autry who was the state’s key witness gave an account and confession that was different from Dylans.
According to the prosecution, Zach, Dylan and Shayne visited Holly Bobo’s house to teach her brother- Clint to make meth (Clint denies this allegation). Holly came out of their house screaming and then they abduct her, took turns raping her and murdered her before disposing of the body. Despite the series of variant confessions, all the people involved continue to deny their involvement in the sensational abduction.
Although the evidence presented were largely circumstantial as their weren’t concrete forensic evidence linking Zach to the murder, Zach was found guilty on all the charges (kidnapping, rape and first degree murder). He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole and also 2 consecutive terms of twenty five years for the rape and kidnapping.
Dylan pled guilty to charges of aggravated kidnapping and facilitation of murder. He was sentenced to 35 and 15 years respectively for both charges and they are to run concurrently. He also entered an Alford plea. Jason Autry confessed and became the prosecution’s key witness in exchange for a reduced sentence.
With all the indicted parties maintaining their innocence, the prosecution must have found enough evidence to make the judge put them away for good. However, it is still believed in some quarters that the original culprit might still be at at large.